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Ecosystems Research

MetaPath: Enhancing Data Analysis for Pesticide Review and Prioritization

Issue
A robust database and software application for storing, displaying, analyzing, and reporting existing and new metabolism data is necessary for EPA to evaluate pesticide exposures and effects and make decisions regarding registration and re-registration of pesticides.

Action
EPA scientists have developed a computerized system called MetaPath (Metabolism Pathways) to support the rapid evaluation of pesticide applications submitted to EPA for registration and re-registration. The system includes a search engine and associated database of chemical metabolic maps and supporting data for a large number of currently registered pesticides. When a pesticide application is submitted, EPA risk assessors can efficiently evaluate the chemical against other similarly registered compounds and efficiently determine the potential for the new chemical, its metabolites or degradation products, to result in harm to humans or the environment.

The MetaPath system is currently a knowledge-base tool for assessing pesticide residues and metabolites that form in mammals from exposure to pesticide chemicals. Future versions will be able to assess pesticide residues found in exposed livestock species, plants, and pesticide environmental degradation products.

Data analysis tools built into MetaPath permit comparisons across species, sample matrices, and chemical structures that weren’t previously possible. They also provide data needed for metabolism simulators. MetaPath is currently being populated with rat metabolism data. EPA scientists plan to later populate it with livestock, plant, and environmental degradation information.

Data evaluation record (DER) composers were built into the MetaPath system to provide an efficient process for data entry and auto-population into MetaPath. The initial DER composers were constructed to capture data from rat pharmacokinetic and metabolism guideline studies and residues in livestock.

Results and Impact
The new MetaPath system provides risk assessors with data and knowledge for the rapid, inexpensive, and reliable prioritization of chemicals and supports EPA’s efforts to reduce requirements for expensive animal testing.

MetaPath’s utility is recognized internationally through Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) project under OECD’s Working Group on Pesticides. Furthermore, innovative database development, evaluation tools, and data-sharing between regulatory agencies support sustainability.

Technical Team: Jack Jones

Collaborators:

  • Pat Schmieder | ORD/NHEERL/MED-Duluth
  • Rick Kolanczyk | ORD/NHEERL/MED-Duluth
  • Ovanes Mekenyan | Bourgas University, Bourgas, Bulgaria
  • Mary Manibusan | EPA/OCSPP/OSCP
  • Ray Kent | EPA/OCSPP/OPP-HED
  • OECD Working Group on Pesticides

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